Hirez Roundup #6
There’s a fair amount to talk about today! The changes for SMITE in 4.22 are pretty big for Fenrir and for Tanks/Mages in general. Some pretty cool stuff coming to Hand of the Gods as well (Chronos~) not to mention a new champion for Paladins in Vivian. My piece on her is forthcoming. I have only small bit to discuss on Paladins because I’m still putting my thoughts together on a particular topic. So, let’s get started guys! As always, feel free to message me on Twitter if you have something you’d like me to chat about in this space or have questions in general.
SMITE: Patch Notes for 4.22
Passage to Egypt is coming, and I have to say, I’m amazed that Discordia didn’t get some kind of changes. In fact, she could become even stronger early game (which I do argue she needs), thanks to some itemization changes. And a new difficulty to Shadows over Hercopolis. Can I complain for a moment though? I have 60 out of 89 possible epic/tier 3 items, and I still only have one lifesteal item. I’ve been grinding since launch to make a triple-hunter comp, but to no avail! You’re killin’ me, guys. I still can’t wait for Nightmare Mode though. It’s going to be absolutely goddamn nuts. But we’re moving on to Egypt for the Odyssey, and Ares continues his quest for “justice”. Sorry, I’m an Ares main, I can’t be mad at anything he does in the story, I’m sure it’s probably all justified.
So now Athena has saved Ra, and some of the gods are rallying together to do battle with the mighty Ares and Izanami. The story’s really getting interesting! But we have some new cosmetics to talk about, the most important being “Snow Day Scylla”. I … believe it’s a Child’s Play skin? I missed that part of the stream, but there are two new winter-themed skins, in Agni and Scylla. Those long-necked huskies are so damn adorable. I feel like Fdot probably had a hand in this (but that’s okay. Scylla’s an adorable killing machine). Serqet receives a new skin as well as incredible masteries. Oni Musha Hachiman might mark one of the fastest a new god received a skin (don’t quote me on that, please, just a goof) and an amazing one at that. Geb! Tanks receive some love, with this gorgeous Celtic-themed skin. So where can you get them?
* Kunoichi Serqet (Exclusive, Odyssey): Love the voice pack and the look. The black and red with the Kusarigama instead of a big-ass scorpion tail is awesome. But, I think the Scorpion fits this skin. Either way though.
* Druidstone Geb (Exclusive, Odyssey): My favorite color is green, so this is probably the best Geb skin now. Except maybe G.E.B. 1, because he looks like Omega Supreme.
* Oni Musha Hachiman (Exclusive, Odyssey): A demonic-armored Hachiman, complete with demonic armor for his horse? Perfect. It does look like suitably like an armored Oni or a Samurai dressed to terrify on the battlefield.
* Snow Day Scylla (Exclusive, Chest): This. Is. Adorable. ’nuff said.
* Ice Mage Agni (Exclusive, Chest): Agni took being told to “chill out” literally, I guess. Love this skin so much. The little touches to the Voice Pack are … chilling. Come on! I had to.
* Serqet Mastery Skins (Mastery): These are definitely nice. The updated ones always are, in my opinion. But this promotes people picking Assassins, which I just can’t condone.
“As we approach our Smite World Championship in January we are focused on making targeted adjustments that ensure multiple strategies are viable at the competitive level. In recent tournaments we have seen a shift away from Mages as sources of late game power, being replaced by Hunters. Assassin’s have similarly been pushed out as their ability to deal damage while players are heavily itemized against Physical Damage, with Warriors and Guardians replacing them to act as frontlines. There is a lot in play that contributes to this strategy, and each change is targeted at addressing a specific concern without pushing out this strategy entirely.” – Patch Notes on Smitegame.com. Tank Assassins are annoying, and running Hunter mid has been viable for a while now. They did make sure to clarify that they aren’t trying to nerf the best strategy going in the pro scene (Elevate’s Triple Tank/Two Hunter comp. Seriously guys, I love it), and there were some interesting nerfs to go around.
The Shogun’s Kusari/Spellbound Kusari nerf kind of confused me though. The nerf to Spellbound makes sense. But the thing that made Shogun’s so powerful, in my opinion, wasn’t that it has a really high Magic Def. stat, but the aura of Attack Speed. I’d have left that number alone (or lowered it less) and lowered the AS aura just a bit. But to take the other side, Mages have been largely ignored. It’s so much easier to just run a Hunter and blow up a mage on the other side of the field, or have a mobile, tanky, Assassin who stacks one or two Magic Def. items. It was too easy to just grab one Magic Def. item and ignore the Mage. Well, some of them. Thoth can still detonate peoples faces, so can Discordia. Titan’s Bane/Warrior’s Bane being nerfed kind of made me happy though. The increase in cost (2150 to 2300) and the minor decrease of Physical Pen. (33 down to 30%) is not a complete game change, but will slow down some of those really see a ramp in damage/usefulness out of them. It was too strong for both Hunters and Warriors, to be honest. I do not agree with the Void Stone nerf. But that’s because almost every God I play uses it. Maybe there is a reason it’s seeing a lowering in Magical Protection (70 down to 60), if I run it on virtually every Guardian or Mage I play … Could it be that it makes sense? Nah, couldn’t be.
Mages in Conquest have it pretty rough right now. I don’t have a lot of sympathy, as a Guardian, we have pretty limited starts too. But having to rely on the Soul Trap rush, it’s kind of boring and not competitive on a damage level. So with that, Tiny Trinket/Lost Artifact both saw a boost in Magical Damage, and Lost Artifact lost some cost off the top (600 down to 550, but Restored Artifact/Doom Orb received 50 more gold to preserve their original prices). Soul Trap also saw a decrease in cost (1400 down to 1350, Soul Reaver/Book of Thoth also saw 50 more gold tacked on). This doesn’t make Mages suddenly OP, or suddenly a must-pick, but it goes a long way to getting them competitive, spending just a little less gold to get some stats. Doom Orb got some love too! It’s still risky, but a little less so. It has more Magic Power now (40 up to 60), increased MP5 (7 up to 10), and the stacks lost on death was reduced (50 down to 40). So it’s a bit better, and can compete with the must-have Book of Thoth now perhaps. I’ve still seen a lot of people run Doom, but it’s so risky. You have to be supremely confident in yourself. Soul Reaver also got a bit of love, more of balance than a buff/nerf. While yes, it saw it’s Evolved Power go down (20 down to 10), its overall power went up (30 up to 40) and a cost reduction (2400 down to 2300) which is arguably the best part. It’s an incredible and unique piece of gear, but if you don’t rush it it almost feels not worth it, thanks to how much it costs.
Sure, Fenrir got some buffs, but can we talk about how Ymir gets a nice quality-of-life adjustment? His ultimate, Shard of Ice now immediately applies the Frostbite passive, and is refreshed by the detonate at the end of the ultimate. That’s beautiful. This is a good thing. It makes Ymir stronger if players try to fight him and burn him down during the Shard of Ice buildup. How is Artio still so damn powerful though? She just is! She’s still pick-or-ban tier despite being adjusted more than once, from the competitive scene, down to Silver, where I am. This week, she’s losing power from Energy Surge (Maul Prey), decreasing its Heal and Magical Power Scaling (Heal: 60/80/100/120/140 to 40/60/80/120 per enemy god hit. Scaling: 25% down to 20%). Lifetap (Heavy Charge) also saw the Life Tap Power Scaling decreased (10% down to 5% per tick), which just might make her a little less potent. The way things were, she could jungle, solo lane, support, where you wanted her, she coudl be there. It was nutty.
Cu Chulainn is receiving some hits to his early game (which is fine, his early game was ridiculous), Berserk having its bonus shield reduced (20+24 per level down to 10+20 per level). No, this doesn’t nerf him into unplayability. Maybe you’ll just be less of an unstoppable juggernaut. That means, Twitch Audience for HiRez TV, you’ll have to actually do some work as Cu! What a novel concept. Vent Anger is also nerfed, lowering the self-move speed buff (10% to 5%). There are a ton of changes to Fenrir, so I’m going to keep them kind of brief. Unbound Runes no longer affects Seething Howl, which also received some notable buffs. Brutalize was increased, and the cone to Ragnarok is pretty great, as well as the increased range. Gone are the days of Fenrir just gnashing his teeth angrily, desperately trying to find a snack. For complete details, click this link.
Hand of the Gods: Fate and Time:
This is a massive update, compared to the last one I saw! The Halloween Card Pack is going away, and the Holiday one is coming in! This one will feature cosmetic skin cards for Nu Wa, Ah Puch, Geb, Ratatoskr, Fenrir, as well as two Holiday Avatars, and a Holiday Card Back. The God skins will award two copies, are not disenchantable, and will only be around for a limited time (200 runes a pack). I’m just going to discuss a few of the cards today though. If you want the full patch notes, they’re at this link. Two new Gods come to the game, Chronos (Greek) and Xing Tian (Chinese). Chronos is Ranged, costs 5 mana and is a 4/4 (Epic). While he’s in play, Player turns last 20 seconds. That’s right, you jerks. As long as he’s in play, I don’t have to be annoyed at how long your turns take! Xing Tian is a Melee, 5 mana, 2/4 (Rare). He has Warcry: Deploy an axe. Friendly units that end their turn on it gain +4/+4 and consume it. Oh. Boy. This is an amazing buff, but I feel like a boat was missed here. What I would have liked to see would be to be able to dash upon deployment, and wherever he lands, units around him are returned to their owners hands. Which would probably be kind of powerful, but a great way to deal with token spam.
Several factions receive new cards though, but some of the stronger ones in my eyes are the following. Equalize (Hindu) is a common for 3 mana. Draw a card from your deck and from your opponent’s deck. Oh goodness do I love this card. It’s going in my deck, I promise. Power Delve (Roman) is pretty ridiculous for a god-based deck. Discover a unit that costs 7 or more and reduce its cost to 0? Ugh. I hate this, but only because I don’t really play Roman much. But I see it being invaluable for mid-game power. It’s got a 7 cost, so you trade a spell for a god/unit in your deck to play. Gift of the Nile (Egyptian) is also pretty incredible. Give a friendly unit of yours Afterlife: spawn a 1/1 version of this unit. Do you have a god or unit that gives you an incredible advantage? Worried that it’s going to die? Slap this on it and keep it as far behind your defensive line as you can. Finally, Recursive Vitality (Chinese) is a 1 drop (1 mana) that gives a God +1/+0. When you play a God, return this card from your graveyard. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a guaranteed boost when you need one. Keep an eye on it, even if it’s a common. There are some new Gauntlets coming in this update too, which reward adorable Cutesy Avatars, which are always fun. My favorite out of these is probably Weekend Gauntlet 1: Sharing is Caring. You draw from your opponents deck. Decks must include at least 15 unit cards. Oh. Boy. I love this. I love this. I could craft something absolutely ludicrous in this and force people to deal with my shenanigans. I bet Adanis was behind this. If so? Thank you.
Paladins – Brief Chat:
Okay, so, Vivian is being saved for a separate piece. I’ve played her briefly in training mode to get a feel for her, and she’s fun. Dunno if she’s my cup of tea, but I can see her play being a good time. But, I want to talk about Rentable Weapons. I’m torn about how I feel on this. I’m very glad they were removed from chests, because that just seemed like a terrible idea, in my opinion. But the actual items? I’m … I’m definitely torn. Do I think they look incredible? Yes. Yes they do. The golden Torvald hand? Easily my favorite. That or a golden Devastation Axe, because now I have a PBS Stick (Pimp Be Smart). They offer bonus gold/etc and stack with other buffs to your winnings. That’s fantastic. But I’ve never been a fan of rented items in any game, shooter, MMO, otherwise. They drive me nuts. I hate having to rebuy something that I already bought. I’d love for their to be an option to keep it for a higher gem/VIP point charge, but that’s because I simply hate to lose stuff. But what kills me about this? There were a few tweets I saw that declared Hirez being pay-to-win now because increased Exp/Gold from these guns. I wish I had kept them because they were absolutely hilarious. In what way does this make you go from a garbage Viktor that can’t even buy a Legendary Card in base, to a godlike Viktor that can’t miss a shot? It doesn’t, you buffoon. If you think someone’s better than you because of their account/champ level? I … don’t even have a response to that. Other than to laugh. I’d also like to talk competitive matchmaking in the future, if I can get some time in with the Paladins devs. It’s on my to-do list.
Thanks for coming to read this! I love doing it, and hope you guys are as excited as I am for the upcoming updates and HRX 2018!
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